People

Lawrence Kazak, PhD (University of Cambridge)
Assistant Professor, Goodman Cancer Institute, Department of Biochemistry
Canada Research Chair in Adipocyte Biology

Lawrence completed his PhD with Ian J. Holt at the University of Cambridge, MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in 2013. He then moved to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, where he worked on adipocyte thermogenesis in the lab of Bruce M. Spiegelman. Lawrence joined McGill University as an Assistant Professor in 2018. His lab is currently supported by CIHR, NSERC, CFI and the Terry Fox Research Institute. 

Google Scholar / Faculty page

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Bozena Samborska, MSc (University of Guelph)
Bozena completed her MSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Guelph studying protein structure and function of cyanobacterial carboxysomes. She has been a Research Assistant at McGill University since 2011. In the Kazak lab, she is investigating creatine metabolism in T cell function. In her spare time, she is a maker of delicious bean-to-bar chocolate. Read Bozena’s papers.

POSTDOCS

Janane F. Rahbani, PhD (McGill University)
Janane hails from a small but historical village in Lebanon. After finishing his Masters degree in physical chemistry at the American University of Beirut, he moved to Montreal where he completed his PhD in Chemistry at McGill. In the Kazak lab, Janane is studying the role of creatine kinase B in adipocyte thermogenesis using inducible tissue-specific knockout mouse models. His research is currently supported by a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship. Read Janane’s papers.

Mouna Tlili, PhD (INRS-Armand Frappier research centre)
Mouna was born in Tunis (the capital of Tunisia). She then obtained her doctorate in virology and immunology. Mouna is using genetic screens to investigate the role of creatine in tumour progression. Read Mouna’s papers.

Abhirup Shaw, PhD (University of Debrecen)
Abhirup was born in the historic city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in the eastern part of India. After completing his Masters from University of Calcutta, he pursued his PhD from University of Debrecen in Hungary, where he studied the role of known browning inducers in the thermogenic regulation of human abdominal and neck derived adipocytes. In Kazak Lab, Abhirup is investigating the existence and role of the creatine futile cycle in different cell and tissue types.

GRAD STUDENTS

Faiz Hussain, PhD candidate 
Faiz is a born and raised Montrealer. He completed his BSc at McGill University. He is exploring how the futile creatine cycle is triggered downstream of thermogenic inputs, using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, protein mass spectrometry and classical enzyme biochemistry. Read Faiz’s papers.

Jakub Bunk, PhD candidate 
Jakub completed his MSc at the University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland. He then spent 2 years at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, working on proteomic changes to cardiac mitochondria in response to diet-induced obesity. Jakub spends his free time climbing and hiking.

Drishti Soni, PhD candidate 
Drishti was born in Delhi, the capital of India. She did her master’s from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. She spent 2 years at CSIR-IGIB, Delhi exploring the regulation of telomerase in breast cancer. Drishti’s PhD work is focused in vivo genetic screens to identify regulatory mechanisms important for obesity-driven breast cancer.

Zafir Kaiser, MSc candidate 
Zafir grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and earned an honours degree in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill. In the Kazak lab, he is investigating whether rapid activation of the futile creatine cycle can be manipulated genetically. In his spare time, Zafir enjoys playing chess, soccer, and volleyball.  

Maria Guerra Martinez, MSc candidate 
Maria was born in Cajamarca, Peru and relocated to Calgary, Canada. Following, Maria moved to Montreal, Canada where she earned an honors degree in Biochemistry at McGill University. Currently, she is investigating brown adipogenesis using bioinformatic methods, as well as, conducting several genomic analyses for various projects. In her spare time, Maria enjoys painting and watching movies.

Qiaoqiao (Ellen) Zhang, MSc candidate
Qiaoqiao was born in Urumqi, China and went to high school in Vancouver. She is currently a 3rd year biochemistry student at McGill, studying GPCR signaling in the interior of thermogenic adipocytes and how these signals trigger thermogenesis by the futile creatine cycle. Qiaoqiao loves jazz dance, drama performance, hiking, and is an avid equestrian. 

Chloe Guo, MSc candidate
Chloe was born in Tianjin, China and spent her teenage years in western Massachusetts. She is currently a 3rd year Biochemistry student, investigating the regulation of thermogenic adipocyte development in the Kazak lab. In her spare time, Chloe loves to visit museums and enjoys watching baseball games with her friends.

UNDERGRADS

Hannah Klemets, honours research
Hannah grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a 3rd year biochemistry student at McGill, studying the regulation of the futile creatine cycle and post-translational modifications of creatine kinase B. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys puzzling, bouldering and baking.

KAZAK LAB ALUMNI

POSTDOCS:

Damien M. Lagarde (2022) – current position: Charles River

GRAD STUDENTS:

Anna Roesler (MSc, 2020), Christien B. Dykstra (MSc, 2021)

UNDERGRADS:

Alyson Jiang (2018), Gloria Ma (2019), Miranda Medeiros (2019), Meghan MacLaren (2021), Amélie Clénet (2022), Yijiang Hou (2022), Qiaoqiao Zhang (2023), Chloe Guo (2023), Hannah Klemets (2023)

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